Today, 24 leading exporting companies in craft and design industry in Ho Chi Minh City, together with nearly 20 lecturers, freelance designers and students participated in a two-day training seminar on innovation design and business skills. The programme is presented by experts from Cockpit Arts, the UK’s leading social enterprise in supporting craft designer and manufacturers’ businesses, and co-organised by the British Council Vietnam and Handicraft and Wood Industry Association (HAWA).
The training model, including a 6-month mentoring programme, is an initiative of British Council. After the course, Cockpit Arts experts will provide mentoring services for four selected attending companies. The mentoring period will last from February to July 2015 and focus on product development methods and international market entry approaches, especially to UK and European markets.
Following its success in Hanoi, this training programme is now offered for businesses in Ho Chi Minh City, and HAWA is working in partnership.
Starting the course, David Crump, Head of Business Incubation from Cockpit Arts introduced four market entry approaches: retail, wholesale, bespoke production and bespoke design. Regarding buyer perspective, he also highlights the importance of a “user-friendly website” in buyers’ decisions.
Madeleine Furness, Business Development Manager at Cockpit Arts, provides an in-depth presentation about Trend Forecasting. She has various experiences in supporting 200 designers and manufacturers in their businesses. Furness presented online trend predictors and analysed how trend cycles work and the methodologies to spot and predict new trends.
Established in 1986, Cockpit Arts became a fully-fledged social enterprise supporting designers and manufacturers in the United Kingdom in 2010. Made in London, the Loved Worldwide campaign celebrates a report highlighting that 57% of Cockpit Arts designer and manufacturers are now exporting their work, compared to only 30% nationally. Cockpit Arts headquarters currently houses 165 craft and design businesses and studios.
Cherry Gough, Country Director of British Council Vietnam said: ‘In the UK the Creative Industries are one of leading contributors to the national economy and employ 2 million people.’
The British Council is committed to supporting the Vietnamese design and craft industry. The unique feature of this training programme is that it sets up connections between local designers and craft companies, and initiates collaboration which will be mentored by UK experts in the next six months. Our training course will not only bring valuable knowledge and information to local companies, but also real opportunities to develop their new products and expand their markets.’
After the training and consultancy programme, British Council and HAWA will work to select outstanding companies to participate in the Design Connect project, aiming to network with UK young designers in the field. A visit for observation and products promotion in London is then aligned in 2015-2016.
This is the second visit of Cockpit Arts to Vietnam in the collaboration with the British Council Vietnam. In March 2014, Cockpit Arts experts provided a training session at the ‘Seminar and Training Programme of Innovative design and how to approach the European craft market’ co-organised by the British Council Vietnam and Vietrade, Ministry of Trade and Industry.